Maryland groups raise money, resources for hurricane victims

While Laura Bou Delgado's family was back home in San Juan, Puerto Rico, without power or water for more than a week, she was at college in Baltimore, organizing a bake sale.

It raised $3,000 for relief efforts in seven hours.


The Johns Hopkins University track team helped, as did some sorority sisters and the informal network of Puerto Rican students at the school.

"We had no leftover baked goods," Bou Delgado said Monday. "People were just coming up, coming up, donating. Even after the bake sale was over, people were still asking me if they could donate."


Bou Delgado's fundraiser last week was among scores of efforts large and small across Maryland to raise money for Caribbean islands decimated by fierce hurricanes.

On Monday, four members of the Maryland Civil Air Patrol left for the Puerto Rico and will spend 10 days flying over the island to help assess the extent of the damage caused Sept. 20 by Hurricane Maria, which destroyed much of the territory's infrastructure and caused widespread power, food and water shortages.

The air patrol pilots will be relieved by another team, and then another, for three or four weeks until the entire island has been surveyed. They're joining the 26 members of the Maryland National Guard that Gov. Larry Hogan deployed last week to help with water purification efforts and other relief aid.

The Maryland National Guard will help with hurricane recovery in Puerto Rico

Hogan plans to announce soon that more Maryland workers will be deployed to the island, spokesman Doug Mayer said. He declined to elaborate.

Meanwhile, groups large and small are donating cash, and launching drives for clothes, diapers, construction materials and other supplies.

An Annapolis architecture firm, Bignell Watkins Hasser, announced Monday it would match employees' relief aid donations up to $200 each for all of 40 their employees.

A Baltimore dance studio, Salsa Now, advertised $10 salsa classes for this Friday night, with 100 percent of the proceeds to be donated directly to relief.

Three Towson volleyball players who grew up in Puerto Rico filmed a video urging people to collect flashlights and batteries, and donate them to United for Puerto Rico. The first lady of Puerto Rico started that initiative for private industries and the public to contribute to relief efforts.

Baltimore native and NBA star Carmelo Anthony started an internet fund to help pay for relief. It had raised $300,000 as of Monday night.

At Sunday's Ravens game, the company Emergent BioSolutions was selling reserved parking spots and donating the money to relief efforts. B.J. Hull, a company vice president, said the firm plans to do so again for the next few games, selling access to 55 spaces total.

"We'll get $2,100 a game," he said. "We're going to send it to direct relief."

Red Cross of Maryland spokeswoman Lenore Koors said several big corporations made donations to hurricane relief and encouraged workers to join in by offering to match their contributions. She also said several smaller businesses and restaurants have featured specials whose proceeds went to disaster relief.


Several Caribbean nationals from the Baltimore area formed the Caribbean Disaster Relief and Recovery Alliance after Hurricane Irma laid waste to Antigua, Barbuda, and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.

The group's spokeswoman, Elaine Simon, said two major drives have generated enough donated supplies to fill up eight pickup trucks. The group, which has a warehouse in Kensington, decided to work "outside the bureaucracy" to deliver directly to churches in the islands.

"We are from those devastated islands," she said. "These islands were so devastated, people had to leave. When they left, they left with the clothes on their backs. They had to leave everything on the island, so we have collected anything and everything."

Baltimore Sun reporter Christina Tkacik contributed to this article.

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